The Charleston County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) was awarded $2.25 million from the Safety and Justice Challenge to invest in a mix of strategies that have been safely reducing the average daily jail population and helping to improve the local criminal justice
system. The CJCC has supported efforts to enhance police practices; increased alternatives to jail for people dealing with mental illness, substance use disorders, and homelessness; started automated court reminders; launched a risk-based pretrial management system; provided indigence screening for the first-ever assignment of public defenders in bond court; expedited earlier assignment of prosecution and defense counsel; reduced the time to receive discovery; and reduced time to disposition. Through all of the above, the CJCC has been improving the system’s use of data for continuous improvement and accountability.
While the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office is the Safety and Justice Challenge lead agency for administrative purposes, the initiative is led by the CJCC. The mission of the CJCC is to assist in making sustainable, data-driven improvements to Charleston County’s criminal justice system and thereby improve public safety and community well-being. A prior iteration of the CJCC led a number of multi-stakeholder criminal justice reform efforts, including the institution of case processing improvements that reduced average jail stays of probation and parole violators, the creation of a Jail Liaison position to facilitate lawyer-inmate communications, and a $100 million detention center expansion to alleviate severe overcrowding. In 2015, the CJCC reignited and expanded its efforts to continue improving the local criminal justice system in Charleston County with the support of the SJC.